The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, June 13, for the annual All-Star Race. Former Cup Series champion Kurt Busch will take part in the main event while competing at a track where he has considerable success. He may not be yet ready to guarantee a victory, but he is excited about the trip to his “bread and butter” track.
Speaking with Heavy during an exclusive interview, Busch previewed the upcoming All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway. He explained during the discussion that TMS fits well with his skill set and provides a solid opportunity for him to win the $1 million bonus.
“I’ve always enjoyed racing at Texas Motor Speedway,” Busch told Heavy. “I’ve called it my bread and butter track. It’s like you go there, and you’re guaranteed a top 10 because it’s just been simple, clean, and easy for me. But man, you gotta knock on wood. You know, I can’t jinx myself.
“We’ve got to go there for a couple of different reasons. This week with it being the All-Star. We’re there for a million bucks, right? But we’re also there… we changed all of our aero from our Charlotte race that we had a couple of weeks ago. We’ve changed it all going to Texas. And we’re going to gamble, we’re going to go big and we’ll see if it works.”
Busch Has Several Top Finishes at TMS in His Career
The 2004 Cup Series champion has made 36 starts at TMS during his 21-year career, driving for several different teams. He has been competitive in the overwhelming majority of these races. Busch has 23 top-10 finishes, three top-fives, and a win in 2009.
This win took place during the playoffs. Busch was driving the No. 2 Dodge Charger for Team Penske at the time, joining teammates Brad Keselowski and Sam Hornish Jr. He headed onto the Texas track for the Dickies 500, needing a win to stay alive in the championship chase. Busch led 89 of the 334 laps and held off Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin to capture the checkered flag.
Since joining Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019, Busch has continued to remain competitive at TMS. He has four consecutive top-10 finishes while driving the No. 1 Chevrolet, including seventh during the 2020 playoff race. Now he will strive to continue this run of success during the non-points race, aiming to capture a $1 million bonus instead of playoff points.
The All-Star Race Will Feature a Major Change
Heading toward the annual non-points race, NASCAR announced a major change. The stock cars will head to TMS with only 510 horsepower. This is 40 horsepower less than the standard amount used at ovals over one mile in length, and it will force teams to make some adjustments as they prepare to hit the track without any practice.
NASCAR announced prior to the 2021 season that 23 of the 36 races would implement the 750-horsepower package. According to The Checkered Flag, these events would take place at road courses and ovals under one mile in length. The superspeedways — ovals more than two miles in length — such as Daytona and Talladega would use the 550-horsepower package. The same setup would apply to tracks like Atlanta, Dover, and Texas. However, the All-Star Race would serve as an opportunity for NASCAR to test out lower horsepower numbers.
“[The lower horsepower] is gonna make every restart that much more important, every shift point that much more important,” Busch explained to Heavy. “Anytime that you take away horsepower, everything just gets that much more fine-tuned with all of your inputs. So you can’t hesitate on making a move. You’ve got to go You can’t lift. You’ve got to keep the throttle down.”